Badr al-Din Lu'lu' (Arabic: بدر الدين لؤلؤ) (died 1259) was successor to the Zangid rulers of Mosul, where he governed in variety of capacities for half a century. He was the first mamluk to transcend servitude and become sultan in his own right, anticipating the rise of the Bahri Mamluks in Egypt by twenty years. He preserved control of the Jazira through a series of tactical submissions to larger neighboring powers, at various times recognizing Ayyubid, Rûm Seljuqs, and the Mongol overlords. His surrender to the Mongols spared Mosul the destruction experienced by other settlements in Mesopotamia.
Badr al-Din Lu'lu' is perhaps best remembered as the patron of the influential historian Ali ibn al-Athir and for a collection of minor arts which demonstrate the high level of cultural and artistic attainment in 13th century Mosul.
Rise to power
Lu'lu' was an Armenian convert to Islam, in the household of the Zangid ruler Nur al-Din Arslanshah I. Recognized for his abilities as an administrator, he rose to the rank of atabeg and, after 1211, served as regent until the death of the last Zengid, Nasir al-Din Mahmud in 1233. From this time on, he ruled independently, careful to preserve his sovereignty through a series of tactical submissions to larger neighboring powers.
His coinage is important for establishing the diplomatic history of the Jazira during the mid-13th century, a time when the region was contested by the Ayyubids, the Seljuqs of Rûm, and the Mongols.
- Islamic art and architecture 650-1250 By Richard Ettinghausen, Oleg Grabar, Marilyn Jenkins , pg, 134